Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Gift of Christmas

The celebration of the Feast of Christmas was a time of great joy at Our Lady of Grace Monastery.  There is so much to prepare - music, chapel environment, food, dining room decorations.  And yet, that is so much a part of the celebration of Christmas.  I love the days before Christmas as each person in community uses her gifts to help prepare.  

Our Evening and Morning Prayer liturgies were beautiful.  I love the special verses from Scripture that remind us of the amazing gift that we are receiving and the mystery of it all astounds me.  Our Eucharistic liturgy was beautiful with the sounds of our Bell Choir and the beautiful voices of our Schola praising God together.  Christ coming to us in human form.  As I received Christ at the Eucharist, I was reminded once again that I am called to become that same gift for others.  What a challenge and gift this is!  God comes to us in human form so that we might come to know him intimately.  And, because of this intimate relationship with him, we are never the same.  Now we, too, must become for others a life-changing experience.  May our relationship with others help them see Christ so that their lives might be changed through this experience.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ...

It's hard to believe that Christmas Eve is just a couple of days away.  Christmas trees are appearing all over the monastery.  We will start putting the lights on the trees in the chapel this afternoon/evening.  Tomorrow and Friday the rest of the chapel decorations will be done.  I love this time of the year.  It is such a time of community.  Each person is involved in their little part of making the celebration of Christmas special.  Of course, it is our daily prayer and Eucharist that is preparing our hearts to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.  Know that we pray for all of you in our daily prayer.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Whose In Your Family Tree?

The Gospel for today is the genealogy of Jesus.  For a long time I struggled with this Gospel passage. I guess I didn't know how to reflect on it.  However, in recent years, it has begun to hold deep meaning in my life.  As reflect on Jesus' genealogy, I realize that it is filled with the great ancestors and the not so great.    The Gospel writer includes them all.  Each ancestor is an important part of Jesus' history.  It helps me reflect on my family tree.  There are those in my family tree who were a gift and added so much to my family and then there are those who were a challenge and caused great struggle.  It is easy to focus on the "good" ones and forget about the ones that were a challenge.  Yet, each person in my family tree is a part of my story, a story that is part of the Story.  I encourage you to reflect on your family tree and give thanks for each person that has been a part of your story.  Many of them you never met and yet they helped shape your family.  I give gratitude for the family that God chose to give me.  The gifts and the struggles are all a part of my story, a story still being told by God.

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Soul In Stillness Waits

 At Mass yesterday, we sang the song
"My Soul in Stillness Waits."  I love this song because it is a reminder of what Advent is all about.  The words of the chorus keep running through my heart, "For you, O Lord, my soul in stillness waits, truly my hope is in you."  I am always moved by this song.  However, yesterday as I 
looked out at the beauty of creation and the deep stillness of the fallen snow that covered the earth, I felt like I had been given a special gift by God.  God's grace covers me gently and leads me into the stillness of God's presence just like the snow that covers the earth.

 Sr. Mary Margaret took these pictures of our grounds covered with snow.  I hope you enjoy seeing them 

 much as we did.  We are blessed by beauty all around us but sometimes it takes a first snow to open our eyes to the beauty God provides each day.  

I want to take this gift with me into the rest of the Advent season so that each day I might touch into the beauty and stillness that God offers me.  Know of my prayers as you enjoy God's gifts this Advent.

Sr. Julie Sewell and Sr. Heather Jean enjoyed an Advent walk together.  All bundled up they stayed warm as they took in the beauty of God's gift.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Importance of Passion

As I have talked with people about their lives and what they desire, I have often heard them talk about the importance of passion for what you do.  I would totally agree and find it sad when I meet someone who does not seem to have passion for what they are doing.  However, passion can never be separated from the source of our lives: Jesus Christ!

A couple of Sundays ago, I was at Mass at Christ the King Parish and read Fr. Steve Jarrell's column in their bulletin.  In his column, he used this quote from Pastor Frederick Buechner.  I have been reflecting on it this Advent and invite you do do the same.

"Passion must be grounded, or, like lightning without a lightning rod, it can blow fuses and burn the house down.  Passion must be related not just to the world inside your skin but the world outside your skin . . . . Passion must be harnessed and put to work, and the power that first stirs the heart must become the power that also stirs your hand and feet, because it is the places your feet take you to and the work you find for your hands that finally proclaim who you are and who Christ is.  Passion without wisdom to give it shape and direction is as empty as wisdom without passion to give it shape and purpose."